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Peter Kerr, NWMP & Toronto Police


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This is the exciting life story of frontier and city policing that spanned over 50 yrs and two centuries. Peter Kerr was born in Toronto in 1864, his father farmed land plots at the "commons " the site of the old Ford Hotel, Edward and Bay St. In 1882, at 18yrs old working as a bookbinder and looking for adventure Peter joined the Northwest Mounted Police. He was assigned to Fort McLeod, then to several outpost one being Beaver House which contained 30 cells, a court room, mess hall and mens barricks. He became an excellent horseman and sharpshooter.
In 1885 he fought/policed in the Northwest Rebellion ( L. Riel ). His commanding officer was Col. Sam Steele # 5 NWMP ( the famous Canadian Mountie ) As a member of the Steele's Scouts In 1886 his pay was $1.90 per day. He was involved in the surrender of Big Bear, the Cree involved in the Frog Lake Massacre, and the Steele Narrows Battle at Loon Lake which ended the Northwest Rebellion. Most of his policing was settling disputes between the Crees and the settlers and keeping the peace on the constrChief uction of the Pacific Rail line. He met Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill. He also met Col Henry. Grasett the officer who was in charge of a Toronto Militia unit fighting in the Northwest Rebellion, Grasett would be later become Police Chief in Toronto in 1886. I believe he contacted Kerr in 1888 to return to Toronto and join the Toronto Police. Chief Grasett had formed a new Toronto Mounted unit and needed experienced horsemen.
In 1888 Peter Kerr returned to Toronto, married his wife Frances Pettet, and joined the Toronto Police Force all in the same year. He was assigned to 1 Division and the Mounted Unit. for many years. In the late 1800s he was instrumentasl in training officers in horsemenship for the Mounted Unit. His final assignment was a station duty officer at 12 Division 2398 Yonge St. and the radio room. Peter was a well liked and conscientious officer. He retired in Jan. 1933. and passed away in 1945, the same year his wife passed. Peter Kerr is buried in Mount Pleasent Cemetery.
Peter Kerr is the great grandfather of my best friend Robert Smith, wife Diane. Robert was also a Toronto police officer when we both joined in the 1960s. Robert moved over to the Toronto Fire Department and retired as a captain with 38yrs of service.

Certainly a full life of policing.















M.T.P.F. Photographs.html


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  • 3 weeks later...

Peter Kerr's grave is in Section 42 Lot 198 of Mount Pleasant Cemetery.


I will see if I can get a picture of it once winter is over, and the cemetery lifts the COVID restrictions.

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